Thursday, July 28, 2011

Theatre: The Disappearances Project

version 1.0
For the Perth Theatre Company
Devised by Irving Gregory, Paul Prestipino, Yana Taylor and David Williams
Directed by Yana Taylor and David Williams
Composer Paul Prestipino
Lighting design by Frank Mainoo
Film directed by Yana Taylor
Cinematographer Sean Bacon
Performed by Irving Gregory and Yana Taylor
STC Studio Underground
27 – 30 July, 2011

The haunting theme of missing people has been explored here recently in Black Swan’s Madagascar and Deckchair Theatre’s Ruby Moon. Both were fine productions but neither approaches the impact of The Disappearances Project, a sure-footed and solemn hymn of pain for the missing and those who miss them, by the NSW ensemble version 1.0.
This is far from a bleak production, despite its painful subject. I can’t recall an hour in the theatre going by more quickly, driven by the poetry of the text, the quality of the performances and the sounds and images in which they are framed.

Link here  for the complete review in The West Australian, and here for Stephen Bevis's interview with David Williams.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Theatre: When Dad Married Fury

by David Williamson
Directed and designed by John Senczuk
Featuring Jay Walsh, Alinta Carroll, Corinne Davies, Richard Mellick, Alison van Reeken, Lauren Lloyd Williams, Casey Edwards and Edgar Metcalfe
The Metcalfe Playhouse
Until 21 August

David Williamson has had a lucky break.
Love him or loathe him – and there are plenty in each camp – it’s Williamson’s ability to generate the pleasurable sensation of recognition for his audience that has kept him at the forefront of Australia’s playwrights for 40 years.
Alinta Carroll and Edgar Metcalfe
In his best work, that recognition comes from the universality, in particular the universal Australian-ness, of his characters; even in his lesser plays – and When Dad Married Fury is decidedly one of those – he maintains his touch for topicality.
For that, though, a little luck goes a long way: if you could choose a week to premiere a play about a wilful old man, his feisty, much younger, second wife, his dubious offspring and a loose email that brings them all undone, surely this would be it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cabaret: The Beautiful Losers

Performed by Mark Jones, Mike McLeish and Karlis Zaid
Downstairs at the Maj
6 – 9 July, 2011

Mark Jones, Mike McLeish and Karlis Zaid, the Melbourne-based comedy and musical veterans who brought their dark revue, The Beautiful Losers, to the Maj Downstairs as part of its Cabaret and Comedy Carnivale, have the voices, the musicianship and the experience to do songs like Randy Newman’s revoltingly hilarious My Life Is Good justice, and the wit to turn them to their own purposes.
So what’s not to like about the Beautiful Losers? Plenty, unfortunately. There’s an unpleasant undertone to the whole endeavour that many critics have praised as brave and confronting but I found merely sour. There’s a great deal of obscenity, in word and deed, in the show, but it lacked either the irony or the twinkle in the eye to redeem it.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Monday, July 11, 2011

Theatre: Scent Tales

Little y Theatre
Written by the cast, director, Corrine Davies and Alexis Davis
Directed by Joanne Foley
Designed by Monique Wajon
Music by Sian Brown
Featuring Georgia King, Mischa Ipp and Rhoda Lopez
Blue Room Theatre
Until July 16

Georgia King
Scent Tales, a parable of the passing on of knowledge, of love and forgiveness, is a little miracle and the best show to emerge from the Perth theatre so far this year.
This is a perfectly realized production, its power rising like dough turning into bread in the hands of its cast and creative team.
The story of two sisters Bea (Rhoda Lopez) and Sanji (Michelle Ipp) is narrated by their granddaughter and grand-niece (Georgia King), who at various times also plays their mother and grandmother. The grandmother’s legacy to the two girls – an extravagant string of pearls for pretty, adorable Sanji and a tiny slip of paper with the recipe for her wonderful “love bread” for intense, diligent Bea – causes a rift between the sisters that takes time and the ties that bind to heal.

Link here  for the complete review in The West Australian

Monday, July 4, 2011

Music: Kinky Friedman and Van Dyke Parks

30 June, 2011

Kinky Friedman has built a long, singular career out of quirky country and western tunes sung in his surprisingly gentle Texan brogue, a distinctive take on life and his absolutely hilarious skills as a raconteur and quip merchant.
He had the Artbar crowd rocking with laughter and roaring their approval at his good ol’ dirty jokes, scurrilous opinions and twisted world view.
The edgy, mercurial Van Dyke Parks pounded his piano through a set of miraculous songs, pausing occasionally mid-stream to exclaim “God damn it!” or similar before sailing on again.
At its highest points — a mighty, elegiac dance by bluegrass master John Hartford called Delta Queen Waltz and his own magnificent On the Wings of a Dove (listen below) — his performance showed why many believe Parks occupies a place in American music shared only by the other contemporary inheritors of the legacy of Stephen Foster and George Gershwin, his friends and collaborators Brian Wilson and Randy Newman.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Comedy: Parodies Lost

Conceived and written by Nick MacLaine and Andrew Williams
Musical director Tim Cunniffe
Performed by Joshua Brant, Caitlin Cassidy, Izaak Lim and Andrew Williams
Downstairs at the Maj
29 June – 2 July, 2011

Parodies Lost is the brainchild of the same crew whose sell out season of Tomfoolery was one of the highlights of last year’s Downstairs at the Maj season.
I’m not going to reprise the accolades that show got in this paper, whose reviewer joined in the encore “because laughing for 90 minutes is not a feeling you want to end”, but there’s no denying this fresh-faced ensemble had another packed room eating out of their hands.
Parody is the parrot that perches on the shoulder of satire demanding crackers, and that’s the difference between the pointed originality of a Tom Lehrer and the more superficial amusement of this show.

Link here for the complete review in The West Australian.

Theatre: Ninety

Black Swan State Theatre Company
Written by Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Marcelle Schmitz
Featuring Paul English and Kirsty Hillhouse
The Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre
July 1-17, 2011

Joanna Murray-Smith
A man has agreed to spend 90 minutes with his former wife three days before he is to marry his much younger girlfriend. The former wife intends to use the time to persuade him to come back to her.
They met when he was her drama tutor, had an affair and married. Some years later he deserted her. He has become an internationally successful, award-winning actor and she an art restorer.
This is a very specific frame upon which to build a drama, full of possibilities but with very little margin for error. You have to be convinced by these two people, you have to come to want them to succeed or fail; and the working out of their situation needs to be clearly charted and reach a genuine and explicable conclusion.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Theatre: Rising Water

Black Swan State Theatre Company
Written by Tim Winton
Music by Ian Grandage
Directed by Kate Cherry
Designed by Christina Smith
Featuring Alison White, Claire Lovering, Geoff Kelso, John Howard, Stuart Halutz and Kai Arbuckle and Callum Fletcher (alternating)
Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre
June 25 – July 17, 2011

Rising Water marks the arrival of the Heath Ledger Theatre, and Black Swan as its resident company. It’s a big-hearted entertainment with some striking assets, the most important of which hits you the moment you take your seat.
Christina Smith has done the play, and the theatre space, a great service with her set; three boats bobbing – actually bobbing ­– in their pens, with deep blue gleaming water below and a transmuting Indian Ocean sky above.
It’s brilliant to look at, and a perfect platform on which director Cate Cherry can manage the story and her cast. Significantly, it's the first design that solves the problems of visual focus in the space and makes the great curving wood surfaces of the auditorium look right at home.

Music: Jimmy Webb

Fly by Night Musician’s Club
June 28, 2011
An evening with Jimmy Webb is a gift of the company of some of the greatest songs of the past half-century. It’s particularly poignant this week, with the sad news that Webb’s best known and favourite interpreter Glenn Campbell was rapidly losing his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and that his current tour would be his farewell.
Webb and Campbell played together for the last time only a fortnight ago, and it’s hard to think of one of them without the other.
After a sprightly opener by local performer and songwriter Nat Ripepi, Webb took us through a set that, while it contained only ten songs, covered the important points of his long career.